Ohh my head. I knew I shouldn’t have had that extra bottle of mead… wait… where’d the carriage go?
Last thing I remember, I was on a hired carriage from Riften with several cases of Black-Briar mead. It was supposed to be the return trip of a long journey from my pub in High Rock, the Drunken Horker. Last week, my business partner Roddy noticed we were low on mead, and with more people joining the war every day, we definitely needed all the booze we could get to keep our patrons happy. Unfortunately all the local pubs were having the same problem we were, and there was little mead to be had from our usual suppliers. The border towns weren’t any better off.
So like an idiot, I volunteered to travel into Skyrim and buy up several cases of Black-Briar mead from the owner of the meadery herself, Maven Black-Briar. I knew I was in for an unpleasantly long trip, but the upside is that we could sell the mead at a premium and make a profit. The negotiations with Maven were a right pain in the arse, but we finally settled on a reasonable price, and the hired carriage was filled to the top with cases of good premium mead. I was looking forward to going home and getting out of this benighted frozen wasteland.
I follow my new friends, the Companions, toward the city gates. The approach to Whiterun looks fairly impressive — stone walls, banners, fortifications, and a massive peaked structure towering over it all. There are plenty of guards stationed everywhere, but that makes sense given that there’s a war on.
There’s also a small camp of Khajiit traders outside the city walls, but that also makes sense. Very few people trust the Khajiit, with their smooth oily voices and quick tricky claws, and therefore they’re rarely allowed inside the cities. It also doesn’t help that moon sugar originates from their homeland — and moon sugar’s primary use is to create skooma.
Before I turn in, Farkas offers me some work for the following day: intimidate someone who’s been causing trouble in Whiterun. He doesn’t get more specific than that, other than to tell me the name of my target. Naturally it’s someone I haven’t met, so I pretty much know nothing else. I accept the job, of course. Wouldn’t do to refuse my very first assignment (especially in front of Farkas!) and it seems I have to build some status with the Companions before I’m considered to be one of them. I might be in, for now, but it’s apparent I’m on trial.
The next day I’m off to get the job done. I’m feeling pretty confident — after all, I shamed the farmer into helping that weird little guy with the cart, right? So I just have to do whatever it was I did before. No problem. This so-called troublemaker will be putty in my hands.
The next day, first thing after breakfast, I grab my gear and head out to the Jorrvaskr training yard. If yesterday’s hunting trip demonstrated anything, it’s that I definitely need to practice my hunting skills. The last thing I want is to be at the mercy of another malevolent moose.
I was hoping I’d have the yard to myself, but several of the Companions are here ahead of me — specifically Farkas, Vilkas, and Skjor. I haven’t seen much of Skjor yet as he seems to keep to himself, but he’s one of the elders and very much respected within the ranks. Great. So now most of the veteran Companions are about to witness my ineptitude with basic weaponry. I almost turn around and go right back inside, but that’s not going to help me next time I have to face down an angry beast.
Next day I awaken to a rather cool morning, and my campfire has been reduced to a small circle of glowing coals. After a breakfast of cheese, bread, and lavender tea, I pack up my tent and I’m back on the hunt. I’ll need a few more hides and alchemy ingredients before I return to Whiterun.
I decide to hike uphill to find a good vantage point. I want to observe the lay of the land (and hopefully avoid any surprise ambushes). I’m trudging up a fairly steep incline when I suddenly hear howling close by. Unwilling to be wolf chow again, this time I summon Mr. Wuffles and ready my bow.
The next morning feels somewhat ominous, and not just because I’m finally going to tackle Aela’s assignment and clear out a den full of unknown beasts. There’s a distinct chill in the air and it feels like rain might be on the way. Glancing at the skies, I send a small wordless prayer to Kynareth that she might hold the rain off for a few more hours. Of course, given that I recently pummeled one of Kynareth’s priestesses — y’know what, never mind! Forget I even asked!
With the skins I collected yesterday, I craft Jenassa a cloak and a fur-lined hood. Those long pointy elf ears look like they could get cold easily. She doesn’t accept them graciously, but she concedes that they might be a good idea.
Next day, I ask Jenassa to stay at the inn while I dash over to the Companions. Outside it doesn’t look promising. It stopped raining, but the sky is low and overcast. Looks like more bad weather is headed our way.
As I ascend the steps to the mead hall, I’m inclined to ask Aela what in Oblivion she was thinking to send me into a troll den. But then I recall she said when she gave me the assignment that no one had positively identified the beasts. Fine. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt… for now.
The rain pours down, cold and relentless, but I pay no notice as I walk the plains of Whiterun. My shock and sorrow give way to anger, a righteous fury that burns hot and feeds on pain. Inwardly I rail at the treachery, the injustice, the sheer depth of calculated malice from a trusted partner who arranged my death.
I hear swift sodden footsteps in the wet grass behind me and I whirl around, weapon drawn, ready to attack any unfortunate intruder who might consider me an easy target. Through the rain, a blurry figure resolves into Jenassa. She’s running to catch up with me, still holding the letter that revealed the depth of my partner’s betrayal.
The following day dawns clear and bright. I walk down the steps of Jorrvaskr, meet up with Jenassa, and we head straight to the market. Our bags are heavy with yesterday’s haul and we have a lot of trading to do. These mammoth tusks in particular are ridiculously awkward to carry — I can’t wait to be rid of them all.
Fortunately they seem to be a popular item. We don’t even make it to Belethor’s before we have an interested party. Y’know what, just take one. No charge.